When Upson County voters went to the polls Tuesday, they knew they would be electing a new Sheriff. But after the votes were counted, they not only had a new Sheriff, but a new County Commission Chairman as well. Former District 3 Commissioner Rusty Blackston defeated incumbent Commission Chairman Maurice Raines by 407 votes to claim the post.
Chief Deputy Dan Kilgore defeated Thomaston Police Officer Jeffery Little by 3,813 votes to become the next Upson County Sheriff.
In the only other locally contested race on the ballot, incumbent Superior Court Clerk Teresa Harper defeated challenger Russ Bridges by 2,989 votes to retain her post.
Following his win, Blackston gave thanks.
“I feel blessed tonight. I just want to, first of all, give God the praise and glory for everything that has been done here tonight and everything that has been done to this point in my life,” said Blackston. “I look forward to serving the people. I’m not a politician; I want to be a servant to the citizens of this community. I want us to start a healing process and try to get everybody together and lets start rebuilding Upson County. I think that is something we need to do now. The top priority is still jobs. We’ve got to get industry here.”
Upson County voters turned out en masse for the election, which also featured the Presidential race. Of the 16,807 registered voters in the county, 11,319, or 67.35 percent, cast ballots.
Rusty Blackston, a Republican, collected 5,669 votes, winning in five of the nine precincts, and taking the election by 51.84 percent. Maurice Raines, a Democrat, garnered 5,262 votes.
Dan Kilgore, also a Republican, had an easier time in the Sheriff’s race, totaling 7,465 votes and winning seven of nine precincts to take the election by 67.09 percent. Jeffery Little, a Democrat, gathered 3,652 votes.
Republican incumbent Superior Court Clerk Teresa Harper collected 63.79 percent of the votes, or 6,911, while Russ Bridges, a Democrat, had 3,922 votes.
Upson County also went Republican in the Presidential race. Mitt Romney collected 64.13 percent, or 7,229 votes, to President Barack Obama’s 3,955 votes. Romney won statewide in Georgia, but as of 11:35 p.m. Tuesday night, national networks were predicting that Obama won the election nationwide.
The incumbents won reelection in two contested Public Service Commission races in Georgia. Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton defeated Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer and Libertarians Brad Ploeger in the PSC District 3 election, while Republican incumbent Stan Wise defeated Libertarian David Staples in the PSC District 5 election.
Much to the chagrin of educational leaders in Upson County and around the state, Constitutional Amendment 1 dealing with charter schools was approved. In Upson County the vote was 5,680 for and 4,977 against. Statewide, Amendment 1 was approved by 58.10 percent.
Constitutional Amendment 2, which allows state offices to enter multi-year rental agreements, was also approved by voters, with 63.43 percent voting in favor of the amendment.